Don Rusnak

Your member of parliament for

Thunder Bay-Rainy River

Don Rusnak

Your member of parliament for

Thunder Bay-Rainy River


Press Releases

PR Letterhead

Rusnak pleased to see Indigenous Peoples House unveiled in Ottawa

For Immediate Release

June 22, 2017 – Thunder Bay, ON

Yesterday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that 100 Wellington Street will now be home to the Indigenous Peoples House, a cultural centre whose exact purposes are to be determined by Indigenous Canadians.

The Government of Canada will work in full partnership with representatives of First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation to determine what the next steps will be in the repurposing of 100 Wellington to ensure it becomes an inclusive space that is in line with the ideas and vision of Indigenous Peoples across Canada.

This centre will be the first building within the Parliamentary precinct that is dedicated exclusively to use by Indigenous Canadians. The location, home to the former American Embassy, is directly across the street from the Canadian Parliament. This symbolizes a concrete indication of this government`s dedication to advancing reconciliation and repairing its relationship with Indigenous peoples, in the heart of the Nation’s capital.


“Putting the Indigenous Peoples House at 100 Wellington Street, in the centre of our nation`s capital, is a powerful symbol of the importance of Indigenous Peoples to this country’s past, present and future. Your government is committed to working with Indigenous Peoples, in a partnership based on respect and co-operation, to redesign and redevelop this new space that is for and by Indigenous Peoples. The Indigenous Peoples House symbolizes a turning point in Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples, and I hope that will serve as a strong foundation for substantial, transformative change.”

– Don Rusnak, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River

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Don Rusnak attends United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City

For Immediate Release

April 27, 2017 – Thunder Bay, ON

Don Rusnak, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay Rainy River, attended the 16th annual United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues this week in New York City. The Forum brings the world together on the 10th anniversary of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Forum is a valuable opportunity for Canada to take a leadership role in the world and reengage as an important partner in promoting the human rights and dignity of all people around the globe.

Our government is committed to fully implementing the Declaration in accordance with the Canadian Constitution and is working in full partnership with Indigenous Peoples on the path forward. We have already announced the creation of a new Working Group of Ministers responsible for reviewing laws and policies related to Indigenous Peoples, and new, distinctions based permanent bilateral mechanisms with the First Nations, the Metis Nation, and the Inuit. These processes, along with others, will support and inform the implementation of the Declaration.


The previous government had a policy of disengagement with international organizations, and our government is focused on reengagement and increasing our nation`s presence on the world stage. For Canada, that means re-engaging with international bodies like the United Nations. We recognize the value in learning from other nations and will continue to work collaboratively with international partners to support progress on all issues, both at home and abroad.

Reengaging with the world creates opportunities at home, and carving out a larger space for Canada on the international stage will bring more opportunities for economic growth and development to all the communities of Thunder Bay–Rainy River.


“It was an honour to attend the United Nation Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples in New York this week alongside several of my colleagues. Reengaging with the world creates opportunities at home, and I look forward to building on the relationships forged during the Forum to create new benefits for all the communities of Thunder Bay Rainy River.”

Don Rusnak

Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River


Indigenous Caucus Supports the Government of Canada’s Announcement of the Commissioners and Terms of Reference for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG)

For Immediate Release

August 3, 2016 – Ottawa, ON

The Liberal Indigenous caucus applauds the Government of Canada’s recent steps in launching the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice, and Patty Hajdu, Minister of the Status of Women, announced the commission members and terms of reference of the inquiry Thursday morning in Gatineau, QC.

The Commission will be made up of The Honourable Marion Buller, who has been appointed Chief Commissioner, Michèle Audette, Qajaq Robinson, Marilyn Poitras, and Brian Eyolfson. They will study the cultural, social, institutional, economic, and historical causes of the disproportionate violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada. The National Inquiry will be conducted in full collaboration between the federal, provincial, and territorial governments.

The Indigenous Caucus is made up of nine Indigenous Liberal MPs: Caucus Chair, Don Rusnak (Thunder Bay—Rainy River), Vance Badawey (Niagara Centre), Yvonne Jones (Labrador), Robert Falcon Ouellette (Winnipeg Centre), Michael McLeod (Northwest Territories), Jody Wilson-Raybould (Vancouver Granville), Dan Vandal (St. Boniface—St. Vital), Randy Boissonnault (Edmonton Centre), and Marc Serré (Nickel Belt).


Today is a historic day; it is another step towards reconciliation and ending this national tragedy. I applaud the work of Minister Bennett, Minister Wilson-Raybould, and Minister Hajdu, and of the families of the victims who fought so hard to make this inquiry happen. I am confident that the members of this commission will handle the Inquiry with the great care that it requires. The team they have assembled has the personal and professional experience to get at the root causes of the unacceptable level of violence against our Indigenous women and girls. Our communities have waited a long time for such decisive action to be taken on this file.”

– Indigenous Caucus Chair and MP for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, Don Rusnak

“I would like to congratulate and thank Ministers Bennett, Wilson-Raybould and Hajdu on the significant amount of work and preparation that has gone into today’s announcement on the National Inquiry. I would also like to wish the very capable Commissioners strength and perseverance for their task ahead. It will be a challenge to both review the sad history of families’ losses as well as provide us with the direction on how to protect our most vulnerable.”

Michael McLeod, MP for Northwest Territories and Member of Indigenous Caucus


Indigenous Caucus is optimistic about Government’s approach to Jordan’s Principle

For Immediate Release

July 7, 2016 – Ottawa, ON

The Liberal Indigenous Caucus is optimistic about the Canadian Government’s announcement of up to $382 million in new funding to support the implementation of Jordan’s Principle. The announcement was made by Health Minister, Jane Philpott, and Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, yesterday afternoon.

The funding announcement was coupled with a new approach that expands the definition of Jordan’s Principle to ensure it is child-focused and that First Nations children receive the health and social services they need, when they need it. The Indigenous Caucus met with Minister Philpott back in early May to discuss a variety of issues surrounding Indigenous health, and Jordan’s Principle was part of the discussion.

Caucus Chair and MP for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, Don Rusnak, stated, “This announcement shows our Government’s commitment to ensuring all children have access to social and health services, when they need it. This is an important step in making sure we address the significant gaps in health and social services that exist between Canadians.”

Rusnak further added, “While we know money is not the only solution, the new funding will bring improvements by providing enhanced service coordination and ensuring service access resolution so that children’s needs are assessed and responded to quickly.”

Yvonne Jones, MP for Labrador and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs says, “this will make a positive difference in the lives of many First Nation children, ensuring they have access to health and social services when they need them.”

The Trudeau Government is honoring their commitment to Indigenous children. “I applaud the necessary investments and recognize the work of Minister Bennett and Minister Philpott in moving quickly to address needs of Indigenous children,” says Jones

For more information on Jordan’s Principle:


Liberal MPs Form Indigenous Caucus

 For Immediate Release

June 16, 2016- Ottawa, ON

A total of 9 Liberal Indigenous MPs have formed the largest Indigenous Caucus in the Canadian government’s history. The goal of this group of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Members is to educate and to initiate dialogue with all Members of Parliament regarding Indigenous issues, advocate for an Indigenous perspective on every subject of importance to Canadians, and encourage legislators to approach topics through an Indigenous lense.


Caucus members include Caucus Chair, Don Rusnak (Thunder Bay—Rainy River), the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould (Vancouver—Granville), Yvonne Jones (Labradour–Newfoundland), Randy Boissonnault (Edmonton Centre), Robert Falcon Ouellette (Winnipeg Centre), Marc Serré (Nickel Belt), Michael McLeod (Northwest Territories), Dan Vandal (St. Boniface—St. Vital), and Vance Badawey (Niagara—Centre).


Chair Don Rusnak states, “The people of Canada elected a record number of Indigenous MPs during the 2015 election, and the majority of us sit on the government side. We are entering what I hope will be an era of reconciliation, and many Members and Cabinet Ministers have a genuine desire to be inclusive and respectful of Indigenous People and our perspectives. We have had people approach us individually for advice on bills or programming, and we decided it would be more effective to work together as a group. We are by no means the final say on Indigenous perspectives, but we are a starting point. The caucus is diverse with different geographical and cultural groups represented. As far as we are aware this is the first caucus of its kind and I am extremely proud to be working with such a strong team”


For more information on the members of the Indigenous Caucus please see the link below.